A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: March 15th, 2015
Location: Hiroshima Sun Plaza Hall
Announced Attendance: 5,120 (No Vacancy)
And here we are, the final event of the New Japan Cup for 2015. Goto, Makabe, Ibushi, and Naito have reached the semifinals, and the winner will be crowned in the main event of the show. Most the other major wrestlers have matches also but they are trapped in big multi-wrestler tag matches. Here is the full card:
- Jushin Thunder Liger, KUSHIDA, and Jay White vs. Tiger Mask, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Máscara Dorada
- Satoshi Kojima and Yohei Komatsu vs. Yuji Nagata and Sho Tanaka
- New Japan Cup - Semi Final: Hirooki Goto vs. Togi Makabe
- New Japan Cup - Semi Final: Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito
- Katsuyori Shibata and Tomoaki Honma vs. Tama Tonga and Cody Hall
- Hiroshi Tanahashi and Captain New Japan vs. Kazushi Sakuraba and Toru Yano
- Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Bad Luck Fale, and Yujiro Takahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, and YOSHI-HASHI
- New Japan Cup - Final: Hirooki Goto vs. Kota Ibushi
I wish they had done more with the other five matches, but it is what it is, at best this will likely be a three match show.
Jushin Thunder Liger, KUSHIDA, and Jay White vs. Tiger Mask, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Máscara Dorada
Liger and Tiger Mask begin things but don't do anything of note before White and Dorada are tagged in. Shoulderblock by White but Dorada hits a hurricanrana. KUSHIDA and Taguchi come in next and they trade elbows. Hip attack by Taguchi, KUSHIDA goes for a cross armbreaker but Taguchi gets to the ropes. KUSHIDA tags in Liger and Liger applies the Romero Special. Liger tags in White and White applies an armbar. They take turns on Taguchi until Taguchi hits a hip attack on Liger. Taguchi tags in Tiger Mask and Tiger Mask hit a crossbody. Liger drives Tiger Mask back and he hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Tiger Mask gets out of the powerbomb and both wrestlers lariat each other. Dorada and KUSHIDA are tagged in, KUSHIDA kicks Dorada from the apron but Dorada dropkicks him as he springboards back into the ring. KUSHIDA is attacked by all three, Dorada goes up top but KUSHIDA avoids the dive and tags in White. Dorada dropkicks KUSHIDA and White, they fall out of the ring and he hits a pescado on White. Liger hits a cannonball off the apron onto Dorada, then Tiger Mask hits a tope suicida. Taguchi gets on the apron and hits a hip attack off the apron, accidentally hitting Tiger Mask. KUSHIDA then goes up top and he dives out onto everyone, completing the circle. White goes up top as he is in the ring with Dorada, and he hits a missile dropkick. KUSHIDA and Liger come in the ring but Dorada dropkicks both of them. White elbows Dorada, he picks him up but Dorada hits a superkick. Dorada goes up top, he walks the ropes and hits a moonsault. Dorada gets White on his shoulders and he hits a Falcon Arrow, picking up the three count. This was an acceptable opener, nothing earth shattering but they are all fun to watch, especially Dorada. Score: 6.0
Satoshi Kojima and Yohei Komatsu vs. Yuji Nagata and Sho Tanaka
Kojima and Nagata start the match and they trade elbows. Shoulderblock by Kojima and Nagata tags in Tanaka. Tanaka stomps on Kojima but Kojima tags in Komatsu. Komatsu and Tanaka trade elbows, Tanaka elbows Komatsu to the mat and then knocks Kojima off the apron. Tanaka tags in Nagata, Komatsu elbows Nagata but Nagata elbows him against the ropes. Nagata knees Komatsu in the stomach and he applies a stretch hold, and he tags in Tanaka. Tanaka applies a camel clutch and he tags Nagata back in. Nagata kicks Komatsu in the back and they trade strikes back and forth. Kojima is tagged in and he chops Nagata in the corner. Diving elbow drop by Kojima, he picks up Nagata but Nagata dropkicks him in the knee. Exploder by Nagata but Komatsu hits a Koji Cutter. Nagata blocks the lariat and hits a release German suplex. Both wrestlers tag out, Tanaka elbows Komatsu and he hits a gutwrench suplex. Crab hold by Tanaka but Kojima breaks it up. Tanaka elbows Kojima out of the ring, he goes off the ropes but Komatsu catches him with a pair of elbows. Single arm suplex by Komatsu but Nagata breaks it up. Komatsu knocks Nagata out of the ring and Komatsu trades elbows with Tanaka. Komatsu hits the rolling single leg crab hold in the middle of the ring, and after struggling Tanaka has to tap out. This was a step down from the last match, it was
just too disjointed and nothing had any significance. I am glad that Komatsu and Tanaka are getting to work with veterans, this one was just uninspired. Score: 3.5
Hirooki Goto vs. Togi Makabe
This match is in the Semi Final of the New Japan Cup.
They run into each other to start the match and they take it outside the ring. Elbows by Goto out on the floor and he kicks Makabe in the leg. Back in the ring Goto throws Makabe into the corner and kicks him in the midsection. Goto twists Makabe's leg around the rope and kicks it some more before applying a single leg crab hold. Goto picks up Makabe but Makabe elbows him until Goto kicks Makabe in the leg. Kicks to the chest by Goto but Makabe absorbs the blows. Lariat by Makabe in the corner and he hits mounted punches in the corner. Northern Lights Suplex by Makabe but it gets two. Lariat by Makabe, he gets Goto on his shoulders and hits a Samoan Drop for a two count. Makabe goes up top but Goto gets him onto his shoulders and hits a neckbreaker onto his knee. Makabe elbows Goto and he goes off the ropes, hitting the Polish Hammer. Lariat to the back by Makabe, he puts Goto on the top turnbuckle and joins him, but Goto knocks him down and switches positions with him. Hanging neckbreaker by Goto, he picks up Makabe but Makabe hits a German suplex hold for a two count. Makabe goes off the ropes but Goto hits a drop toehold and applies the Goto-Shiki for the three count! I liked this match more in theory than in reality. The leg work was a good idea but not interesting and then blown off, which negated half the match in terms of being meaningful. The last half was better but it just lacked any rhythm, then the match was suddenly over. Some parts were good but overall a disappointing match. Score: 4.0
Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito
This match is in the Semi Final of the New Japan Cup. Tie-up to start and they trade submissions before both miss dropkicks. Naito finally knocks down Ibushi with a pair of elbows followed by a dropkick. Snapmare by Naito to Ibushi and he hits a somersault senton for a two count cover. Naito applies a stretch hold and he hits a reverse DDT onto his knee. Reverse chinlock by Naito and he punches Ibushi in the corner. Naito sends Ibushi out onto the apron and Ibushi hits a swandive missile dropkick. Kick to the chest by Ibushi and he hits a standing corkscrew moonsault for two. Ibushi charges Naito but Naito kicks him back and hits a neckbreaker. Naito goes up top and he hits a missile dropkick. Slingshot dropkick by Naito in the corner and he covers Ibushi for a two count. Naito elbows Ibushi and he hits a German suplex hold for a two count. Naito goes for a dragon suplex but Ibushi lands on his feet. Pele Kick by Ibushi and he hits a snap dragon suplex. Ibushi slams Naito to the ground, he goes up top but Naito hits him from behind. Naito joins Ibushi and he hits an avalanche reverse Frankensteiner. Cover, but Ibushi gets a shoulder up. Naito elbows Ibushi but Ibushi elbows him back. Naito and Ibushi trade elbows, and Ibushi hits a hard lariat. Ibushi picks up Naito but Naito hits a hurricanrana for a two count. Dragon suplex hold by Naito, but again Ibushi kicks out. Naito picks up Ibushi but Ibushi fights him off. Ibushi avoids Naito's lariat attempt, he catches Naito when he tries to roll him up and dumps Naito on his head. Ibushi picks up Naito, and he delivers a high kick. Last Ride Powerbomb by Ibushi, and he picks up the three count! For as much as people enjoy kvetching about Naito, he really can deliver. They didn't spend time on limb work that would ultimately mean nothing like the last match and instead just concentrated on dropping bombs to try to keep their opponent on their back. Really high energy, and the head drop was brutal but fit in well with the story as finally Ibushi hit the key move to permanently swing the tide of the match. Really enjoyable match between these two. Score: 8.0
Katsuyori Shibata and Tomoaki Honma vs. Tama Tonga and Cody Hall
Shibata and Hall are the first two in
and Shibata works the headlock until Hall gets a foot on the ropes. Hall tags in Tonga and Shibata tags in Honma, side headlock by Honma and he collides with Tonga. Shoulderblock by Tonga but Honma hits a hiptoss. Scoop slam by Honma but he misses the Kokeshi. Tonga chokes Honma while Shibata battles Hall outside the ring, but Tonga comes out to help Hall before returning to the ring. Tonga tags in Hall, stomps by Hall and he yanks on Hall's arm. Hall tags in Tonga and suplexes him into the ring onto Honma. Honma chops Tonga to the mat but Tonga avoids the Kokeshi and hits a series of mounted punches. Vertical suplex by Honma but he won't tag in Shibata, instead elbowing Tonga in the corner. Tonga avoids the Kokeshi and slams Honma to the mat for a two count. Tonga tags in Hall and Hall lariats Honma in the corner. Discus lariat by Hall, but Shibata breaks it up. Hall hits a reverse DDT on Honma, cover, but it gets two. Hall signals that the end is nigh, he picks up Honma but Shibata runs in and kicks Hall in the leg. Shibata elbows Hall, he holds Hall for Honma but Honma lariats Shibata by accident. Shibata doesn't go down but Hall hits a lariat on both of them. Honma avoids Hall in the corner and he hits a jumping Kokeshi. Shibata follows with a dropkick and he hits a vertical suplex. Tonga finally reemerges but Shibata drops him with a STO. Shibata holds Hall for Honma but Hall boots him back. Jumping Kokeshi by Honma and Shibata applies a sleeper. PK by Shibata to Hall, Honma goes up to the top turnbuckle and he nails the diving Kokeshi for the three count. Honma and Shibata were doing some semi-comedy thing, not sure if this was a one night team or if they are going to be a new mid-card act. I think the Kokeshi situation has gotten out of hand but the crowd seems to enjoy it anyway. A bit weird but not a bad match. Score: 6.0
Hiroshi Tanahashi and Captain New Japan vs. Kazushi Sakuraba and Toru Yano
Tanahashi wants to start the match so Yano does as well, but Yano immediately bails out to the apron. He returns but tags in Sakuraba, Tanahashi gets Sakuraba to the mat but Sakuraba quickly gets out of it. Tanahashi tags in Captain New Japan, Captain New Japan goes for a takedown but Sakuraba rolls out of it and gets Captain New Japan to the ropes. Sakuraba pushes Captain New Japan into the ropes again and he gives another clean break. Captain New Japan goes for a takedown again but Sakuraba blocks it and applies a cross armbreaker. Tanahashi breaks it up, but Yano throws him out of the ring and throws into the guard rail. Sakuraba take Captain New Japan out of the ring and does the same to him as well, he then kicks Captain New Japan while he is against the railing. They eventually return to the ring, kicks by Sakuraba and he tags in Yano. Yano throws Captain New Japan into the exposed corner, then he throws Tanahashi into it as well. Yano tags in Sakuraba and Sakuraba kicks Captain New Japan in the chest and back. Sakuraba applies a grounded necklock but Tanahashi breaks it up. Sakuraba throws Tanahashi out of the ring and goes for Captain New Japan's arm, but Captain New Japan hits a gutwrench suplex. Captain New Japan makes the hot tag to Tanahashi, uppercut by Tanahashi to Sakuraba and he hits a dragon screw.
Tanahashi goes for the Texas Cloverleaf but Sakuraba reverses it into a triangle choke. Tanahashi works through it but Yano runs in and breaks it up. Tanahashi goes for a suplex but Sakuraba breaks the hold and goes for Tanahashi's arm. Tanahashi gets to the ropes and Sakuraba tags in Yano. Jumping elbow by Tanahashi to Yano and he hit a somersault senton off the second turnbuckle for a two count. Tanahashi goes off the ropes, Yano tries to throw him out of the ring but he skins the cat and hits the Sling Blade. Tanahashi dropkicks Sakuraba off the apron, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but Yano gets his knees up on the High Fly Flow attempt, getting a quick two count cover. Yano goes for the powerbomb but Tanahashi gets out of it, low blow by Yano and another cover, but it gets two. Sakuraba comes in with Captain New Japan and Yano turns Captain New Japan's mask around. Sakuraba kicks Tanahashi in the chest in an ugly spot and Yano rolls up Tanahashi for the three count. I dunno what exactly was going on there at the end but it was definitely busted. Now I am afraid they are going to do a Yano/Tanahashi feud which is about the last thing I want to see. This was rough, besides some of the spots being ugly, Sakuraba and Captain New Japan just aren't putting on great matches and it was a waste of Tanahashi. Yano is still good for a chuckle but it just wasn't enough to save this match. Score: 3.0
Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Bad Luck Fale, and Yujiro Takahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, and YOSHI-HASHI
Fale and Okada face off first while others battle at ringside, and Okada hits a pair of sliding kicks. Fale tags in Gallows and Okada tags in Ishii, and the two trade chops. Shoulderblock by Gallows and he hits a scoop slam. Elbow drop by Gallows and he hits a vertical suplex. Gallows tags in Takahashi, Takahashi picks up Ishii and rakes his eyes. Shoulderblock by Ishii and he tags in YOSHI-HASHI. YOSHI-HASHI and Takahashi trade strikes and YOSHI-HASHI hits a hurricanrana. Elbow by YOSHI-HASHI in the corner and he hits a rolling neckbreaker on Takahashi. Things suddenly break down as a brawl starts with all the wrestlers. Things settle back down with Takahashi and YOSHI-HASHI still in the ring, and Takahashi tags in Fale. Fale stands on YOSHI-HASHI near the ropes and he tags in Gallows. The Beatdown On YOSHI-HASHI continues for several minutes until YOSHI-HASHI finally makes the hottest tag to Nakamura. Nakamura levels everyone and kicks Anderson in the head. Nakamura puts Anderson up in the corner and hits a running knee. Cover by Nakamura but Anderson kicks out. Swinging kick by Nakamura but Anderson plants him with a sitdown powerbomb for a two count. Anderson goes for a cutter but Nakamura blocks it and hits an inverted powerslam. Nakamura charges Anderson but Anderson catches him with a spinebuster and tags in Gallows. Nakamura knees Gallows and kicks him in the head before tagging in Ishii. Lariats by Ishii but Gallows levels him with one of his own.
Sidewalk Slam by Gallows and he hits a backbreaker to Ishii. Gallows picks up Ishii but Ishii gets away and hits a vertical suplex. Gallows goes off the ropes but Ishii catches him with a lariat and tags in Okada. Okada hits a DDT to Gallows and hits an elbow, but Gallows kicks him in the head and tags in Fale. Okada elbows Fale but Fale elbows him back. Big shoulderblock by Fale but Okada avoids the body press. Okada gets Fale on his back and hits the reverse neckbreaker onto his knee. Okada goes up top but Takahashi grabs him, giving Fale a chance to recover. Fale throws Okada off the top turnbuckle and everyone attacks Okada in the corner. Double neckbreaker to Okada and Gallows hits a body press for a two count. Fale picks up Okada but Nakamura runs in and kicks him. Anderson knocks Nakamura out of the ring, Ishii also runs in and all the wrestlers take turns doing a move. Okada hits a dropkick to Fale once the ring clears and he hits a diving elbow drop. Okada goes for a Rainmaker but Fale blocks it and hits a lariat. Grenade by Fale, but Okada kicks out at two. Fale goes for the Bad Luck Fall but YOSHI-HASHI breaks it up. Lariat by YOSHI-HASHI to Fale, Okada picks up Fale and Nakamura hits Fale with a Boma Ye. Rainmaker by Okada to Fale, and he picks up the three count. There were definitely things here that I enjoyed, it is just hard for eight man tags to get into a groove as all the wrestlers are in and out too much for anything to really stick. But the action was fine, everyone joining up to attack Fale at the end to get him down was quality teamwork and overall the time went by pretty quickly. Score: 6.5
Hirooki Goto vs. Kota Ibushi
This match is in the Finals of the New Japan Cup. They start exchanging elbows immediately, Ibushi kicks Goto into the corner but Goto hits a shoulderblock. Goto headlocks Ibushi but Ibushi hits a dropkick. Goto falls out of the ring, Ibushi goes to do a dive but he flips out to the apron instead, and Goto lariats him off the apron to the floor. Goto assaults Ibushi around the ring before they return to it, and Goto hits an elbow drop. Goto slaps on a reverse chinlock but Ibushi gets out of it and they return to their feet. Hard elbow by Goto, he goes for a suplex but Ibushi lands on his feet and hits a hurricanrana. Goto rolls out of the ring, Ibushi jumps up to the top turnbuckle and hits a moonsault down to the floor. Ibushi rolls Goto back in the ring and hits a swandive dropkick for a two count. Kick combination by Ibushi and he hits a standing moonsault. Ibushi picks up Goto but Goto goes off the ropes and hits a lariat. Spinning heel kick by Goto and he hits a backdrop suplex. German suplex by Ibushi, Goto comes back with a lariat to the back of the head but Ibushi hits a Pele Kick. Boot by Ibushi in the corner, he puts Goto on the top turnbuckle and joins him but Goto elbows him in the head. They battle on top until Goto clubs Ibushi down to the apron, but Ibushi hits a springboard Frankensteiner for a two count. Ibushi goes for a powerbomb but Goto punches out of it and hits the fireman's carry onto his knee.
Goto and Ibushi trade elbows on their knees, a battle that Goto wins, he goes off the ropes and hits a lariat but Ibushi stays up. They both lariat each other, roaring lariat by Goto but it gets a two count. Ura Shouten by Goto, cover, but Ibushi gets a shoulder up. Goto picks up Ibushi but Ibushi elbows out of it and flips Goto inside out with a lariat. Ibushi goes for a powerbomb, Goto gets out of it but Ibushi hits a really hard slap to the chest. Ibushi picks up Goto but Goto headbutts him. Goto goes for the Shouten but Ibushi reverses it with a rana of sorts for a two count. High kick by Ibushi and he nails the Last Ride, but Goto gets a shoulder up. Ibushi goes up to the top turnbuckle and he nails the Phoenix Splash. Cover, and he picks up the three count! This match was awesome, I loved every minute of it. Ibushi we have established is one of the best wrestlers currently in the world, he shows that on a regular basis. Goto is also great but he needs a good foil, and he clicked really well with Ibushi here. The Last Ride being teased then hit was a good call-back to Ibushi's previous match, and both wrestlers were on the cusp of winning several times which is what you want to see in an important match. The crowd was really into it and it was just big moves from start to finish with very little wasted time. A smidge worse than Ibushi/Nakamura from a couple months ago but the best match of the Tournament. Score: 9.0
As I mentioned at the top, this was designed to be a three match card. One of the matches I didn't enjoy due to structure and just a styles clash between the wrestlers, but the other two really delivered. Ibushi is amazing in just about every way, he hits really hard but has the cool looking spots as well, he is the total package. Goto was on par with him in the main event and they just meshed really well, if Ibushi wins a title I hope he can have a defense against Goto so I can see them go at it again. The Ibushi/Naito match was great also and many people prefer it so you can't go wrong. You can probably safely just watch the two Ibushi matches and call it a day, but as a complete card it is still solid and worth watching, I just wish it had a title match or a big special attraction type match to go along with the end of the tournament.
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review completed on 3/15/15